Why are the protesters in the Middle East and North Africa constantly referred to as rebels? I don't get it. The rest of the world is apparently supporting these people in their fights against dictators. (Seriously, didn't the U.S. and other countries start bombing Libya over the weekend to protect the "rebels" from Qaddafi?) I have heard the regimes in power called illegitimate. Why then are the people fighting these illegitimate dictators called rebels? Shouldn't they be called revolutionaries?
The term rebel makes me picture someone who is going against the rules, but not in a good way. It seems to lessen the import of what is going on, especially where lives are being lost.
I understand that it is uncertain whether a true revolution in leadership will occur in some of these countries because it remains to be seen whether the regimes will be ousted. I further understand that these "rebels" may not end up in power if the current regimes are ousted. Finally, I understand that even if new leaders are elected, the governments may act in the same manner.
However, I don't think there can be any question that no matter what happens, this is a time of change. These people, coming together, fighting their oppressive dictators are taking part in a revolution. They are changing the very fabric of their existence. Even if these particular people are not successful, I don't think the world will ever look at the Middle East and North Africa the same again.
Isn't that a revolution? Don't the people effecting this revolution deserve to be called something more than rebels? Aren't they revolutionaries?